About the customer
British free-to-air television channel. Previously a network of separate uniquely identifiable regional television channels, ITV currently operates in England, Wales, Scotland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands.
After using BeBanjo’s on-demand scheduling and catalogue modules for two years, ITV commissioned the development of the Linear module, a new tool that today helps ITV maximize the operational efficiency of their linear channel management teams.
BeBanjo Supporting ITV’s Digital Transformation Journey
Given the rising popularity of on-demand content and direct-to-consumer platforms, ITV is adapting its product offerings and business model to meet the challenges of the transforming media market. In order to manage their on-demand and linear content life cycle more efficiently, ITV is in the process of transforming their entire content supply chain, an initiative aided by BeBanjo products since 2017.
“We needed to go through a digital transformation. It's all very well doing this kind of outside-in transformation of the end products, but unless we actually transform the core of the business as well, we're going to constrain our ability to deliver new capabilities to those end platforms, as well as actually not operating as effectively and efficiently as we need to,” Tom Griffiths, ITV’s Director of Technology explained to us.
“The Linear module is a building block in that wider journey of transforming the whole of the end-to-end content lifecycle.”
ITV is moving away from a linear-first approach to a multi-platform approach to content distribution. Traditionally, ITV’s content was first broadcast to their linear channels and later distributed to their on-demand platforms. With the launch of the ‘Hub Exclusive’ content offerings and BritBox, ITV has been gradually shifting their approach to one where strategic planning teams exploit content more holistically across both linear and on-demand channels. BeBanjo’s suite of SaaS products plays a central role in this process by helping ITV systematize the management of their digital assets, which ultimately allows ITV to run better ROI calculations with cost forecasting tools and provides intelligence for their content commissioning processes.
The Linear module automates routine tasks and allows planning teams to focus on tackling strategic challenges.
“The Linear module is a building block in that wider journey of transforming the whole of the end-to-end content lifecycle,” adds Tom Griffiths when we ask about Linear’s role in this process. “The decision to develop the Linear module was an important step towards transforming ITV’s core content management system with the final goal of making our content operations more agile and efficient.”
In order to help ITV achieve this agility, the main vision for the Linear module was twofold: get the content scheduling team off spreadsheets and into a tool that will integrate easily with ITV’s other internal systems, like their linear presentation system. The Linear module automates routine tasks and allows planning teams to focus on tackling strategic challenges.
“A great example would be, you know, if we'd had the Linear module in place in March and April this year, it would have been incredibly powerful. Because with COVID, our schedule went up in the air. And having to use this old process to try and re-plan the schedule, well, it was an incredibly painful process of course,” adds Tom Griffiths about Linear’s benefits to ITV’s channel management teams.
BeBanjo’s Linear module is designed to provide a collaborative and centralized tool for planning linear schedules for the long term, without spreadsheets. With Linear, planning teams spend no time formatting in Excel, instead, they move titles and title sequences around on an intuitive, drag and drop interface. Linear’s ‘patterns’ feature allows schedulers to specify any time range to work with and populate it with entries based on values (frequency, length, etc.) automatically. The generated entries can later be edited, and the edits will then apply to all relevant entries across the time range.
Cross-Team Collaboration in Linear’s Shared Workspace
ITV’s strategic planning and channel ops teams work closely together in Linear. The strategic planners create long-term plans and make all relevant changes within the Linear module. After the plans have been finalized, the channel ops team takes over and exports the most recent plan from the Linear module or enters the schedule directly into ITV’s internal linear presentation system.
Additionally, ITV’s commercial analysis team uses the Linear module exports to analyze the value of programs and the advertising that goes with them. Marked up changes are also helping commercial analysts with planning, as changes to the linear plan impact the value of the scheduled programs and the associated advertising slots.
Bebanjo’s User-centred Design Process
BeBanjo’s design team built the Linear module through an incremental, user-centred design process.
“We had the users involved right from the start, from scoping out the requirements in the discovery phase when BeBanjo sat with our users, ran through personas, use cases throughout discovery, and then weekly sessions throughout development. So we had user involvement all the way from start to finish. And I think without that, it wouldn't have been as successful,” Nick Kirk, ITV’s Senior Project Manager explained to us.
“We've worked very well collaboratively across the two companies. There's been a lot of sensible and pragmatic give and take.”
BeBanjo’s design team was working with an agile product development process, combined with a user-centric design thinking approach. This iterative process allowed the BeBanjo team to adapt their design plans on the go according to the feedback they got.
Zak Smith-Sanga, BeBanjo’s Product Manager demonstrates the benefits with an example:
“The instant we found out that something we agreed in the proposal—a feature called “options”—didn't actually provide that much value to users, we didn't tell ITV that we were delivering it as stated in the project proposal, instead, we went back to look at how the feature was created internally. We eventually changed it, redesigned it, and that feature is now a highly popular one called “scenarios”, allowing users to choose separate tabs in the Linear module and experiment with alternative schedules without affecting the main plan.”
This highlights the success of the iterative process and the willingness of the BeBanjo design and development teams to be flexible and adapt to new information that they got from ITV users. As ITV’s Nick Kirk added:
“We've worked very well collaboratively across the two companies. There's been a lot of sensible and pragmatic give and take [...] and I think we've been level headed on both sides about the way we've approached that.”